Tag Archives: Royston Town Women

Match Report – Royston Town Women v Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

Sunday 3rd October

Women’s FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

A trip to Hertfordshire this Sunday to watch a game from the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Women’s FA Cup. An all ERWFL Premier Division clash between Royston Town Women and Bowers & Pitsea Ladies.

A record number of entries into this season’s competition, 120 ties pulled out of the hat for the 2nd Qualifying Round. For many it’s the first step to Wembley regardless of how long the journey might be. A historic competition that stirs up emotions. Last season’s competition still ongoing delayed due to the ongoing COVID pandemic the quarter finals played in midweek see FAWSL sides Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Brighton reach the last 4. For those sides competing today it’s the beginning of a new adventure.

An all ERWFL Premier Division clash between Royston Town Women and Bowers & Pitsea Ladies as both begin this season’s Women’s FA Cup having met already once this season with Bowers & Pitsea Ladies having home advantage in a 2-0 win.

That loss aside Royston Town Women have made an excellent start to the season in the league, winning 4 of their 7 games so far including a 5-1 midweek win at home to Haringey Borough Women that saw them climb up to 2nd in the Premier Division table. Emma Slater, Royston’s top scorer so far netting 7 times in 7 appearances whilst Bella Simmons, dual signed to Royston with Cambridge City Ladies has 5 goals to her name including a midweek hat-trick against Haringey. Also coming into the squad are 3 former Histon Ladies players, Becky Charter and Lauren Martin with Abby Laughlin also returning to the club. Matt Phillips formerly head coach at Histon joining Lewis Endacott’s coaching team.

Change’s at Bowers & Pitsea in the management department too. Darren Fraser and Daniel Foord bringing Little Thurrock Dynamo’s to the club to become Bowers & Pitsea Ladies the club has grown successfully. Fraser moving on whilst Foord is now ladies chairman aswell as looking after the media. John Levy now managing the 1st team assisted by Adam Sinclair. The ERWFL Premier Division not an easy league to get established in getting stronger year on year Bowers & Pitsea have made a solid start to the season pitching up some useful results. Sit comfortably in mid-table well placed to push on as the season progresses. Have a largely settled squad backed up by a Development side. Amber Amey coming in from Hutton Ladies whilst, Phoebe Keys and Talisa Bruton come up from the Development side.

Garden Walk the venue for today’s game home to Royston Town FC aswell as the women’s side. A large clubhouse and bar area serving hot and cold drinks. A small seated stand on one side of the pitch opposite the dugouts. The pitch itself looking immaculate the grass lush and green offering good width whilst sloping slightly from on end to the other. After a day of heavy rain yesterday the pitch has drained well, the weather much calmer today clouds around but the sun still ale to offer a little heat when it breaks through as we enter October.

Royston Town Women starting XI – Mia O’Brien, Fran Gough, Abby Laughlin, Tally Miles, Amy Cooper (C), Sammy Edgar, Georgia Miller, Charlotte South, Becky Charter, Emma Slater & Bella Simmons. Subs – Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Grace Georgiou, Anny Chambers, Hattie Bourne & Ellie Pickard.

Bowers & Pitsea Ladies starting XI – Violet Hickman, Natalie Strange, Phoebe Keys, Danielle Sillitoe (C), Katie Whitehead, Amber Amey, Sarah Wilson, Sophie Rhodes, Holly Moore, Talisa Bruton & Georgia Fraser. Subs – Danielle Styles, Courtney Fraser, Eloise Ives & Sophie Dowman.

A change of ends to begin the game with Bowers & Pitsea kicking off the 1st half wearing and all red strip with white trim and white across the breast of the shirt. Royston in their home colours of white shirts and socks with black shorts. Played back to Danielle Sillitoe in defence, Bowers & Pitsea’s captain sends it long out to the left looking for the run of Holly Moore, has the pace but so does the ball as it skips on along the surface enabling Royston’s Fran Gough to get across Moore and see it out of play for a goal kick. 

Bowers & Pitsea’s Sarah Wilson with Royston’s Fran Gough

 

   The ball quickly closed down in the centre of the park Bowers & Pitsea look for width again out to the right this time with Katie Whitehead getting up the pitch to support Talisa Bruton looks to get infield towards the box, Tally Milles getting in on her shoulder defending for Royston the ball running behind for a corner kick. Fired in central Royston captain Amy Cooper gets up highest to head it clear of the six yard box, Bowers & Pitsea reclaiming left side put back in central, Charlotte South blocking a shot at close range before a strike comes in off the deflected ball outside the box runs wide of the left post.

  Royston bring the ball up the pitch right side on for Emma Slater peeling out to the wing squares it inside for Bella Simmons outside the box right of the D, Sillitoe sliding in to cut the ball out puts it away for a throw. South links up with Simmons on the right for Royston laying the ball on into the area for Simmons to chase Phoebe Keys getting across the striker to guide the ball out for a goalkick. Bowers & Pitsea looking for runners right and left as they break up play in the middle. Cooper has to come across to deal with Bruton as she jinks her way inside from the right the ball cleared for a throw.

Bowers & Pitsea defender, Phoebe Keys

 Is competitive both sides putting in the challenges early on Bowers & Pitsea frustrating Royston harrying the defence, South unhappy as a decision goes against her presenting Bowers & Pitsea with a free-kick in a central position 30 yards out. Georgia Fraser over the set-piece the attacker having an attempt on goal the shot looping over the bar. Sammy Edgar clatters into Sophie Rhodes out wide right giving the visiting side another free-kick some 40 yards out. 

  GOAL! Sillitoe on the set-piece as Bowers & Pitsea load players into the box, is a fantastic delivery whipped in towards the fair post attacked well, Sarah Wilson at the back stick amongst those running in gets her head to the ball powering it past the keeper into the back of the net to score her 1st goal of the season 0-1.

Sarah Wilson opens the scoring for Bowers & Pitsea

  Tally Miles defending well at left back for Royston carrying the ball out from the back plays a one two with Georgia Miller in the middle before taking the ball on up the line sending a early ball into the box looking for Slater, Violet Hickman out of her six yard box early coming to claim the ball. Play a little stretched at times Bowers & Pitsea quick to get on the counter attack the ball won by Rhodes out to Bruton breaking away down the right drawing players to her Gough finds herself outnumbered in the box as the cross is fired in Georgia Fraser can’t reach it central in bounces through to Moore beyond the far post clips her half volley over the bar from 10 yards out. 

Royston’s Emma Slater

 

  Bowers & Pitsea have started the game well getting on the front foot, Royston haven’t really settled the Essex side using Moore and Bruton well on the flanks. Rhodes busy in the middle of the park breaking up play. South turning on the ball sweeping a pass out wide right to the advancing Charter crosses early the ball taking a deflection favouring the goalkeeper. Edgar battling for possession in the middle for Royston lays it into Miller who flicks it out to the right for South, attempts to thread it through for Slater, too much on it Hickman can come and gather. A vicious bounce on the ball inside the box as Moore attacks on the left for Bowers & Pitsea sides Mia O’Brien coming to close the angle deceived the ball looping over her turns relieved to see it run wide of her far post.

   Royston are getting frustrated some decisions going against them, Rhodes mopping up in the middle once again for Bowers & Pitsea rolls the ball back to her defence who are straight away looking to get their wide players on the attack. A throw inside the Royston half on the right for Bowers & Pitsea inside for Rhodes turns and puts a great diagonal ball in behind the defence for Georgia Fraser to attack, O’Brien sharp off her line to slide in and save at the attackers feet.

  GOAL! Midway through the first half and Royston come back to level the scores the ball played out of the back quickly to Charter on the left wing breaks forward well laying it inside for Slater to take on into the area, Hickman rushing out to close her down, saves well at close range blocking Slaters attempt the ball still alive in the area, Simmons racing in on the follow-up first to it strikes the ball Hickman on the floor throwing herself at it making another save the ball though dropping straight back to Simmons who keeps her composure to lift her 2nd attempt over the stranded keeper into the back of the net beyond 1-1. 

Bella Simmons (centre) getting Royston back on level terms

  Royston get straight back on the offensive after the restart attacking right, Keys winning it back for Bowers & Pitsea into the middle play turned around rapidly Moore away on the left Georgia Fraser breaking central as the winger gets to the by-line turning to flash a rising cross in near post Fraser meeting it on the volley around six yards out clipping her attempt over the bar. Neither side looking to dwell on the ball wanting to move it forwards quickly Royston finding Charter on the move left side has support from South inside she turns playing the ball along the top of their opponents area for Edgar on the right who sends it up the line for Gough making the overlapping run, Natalie Strange stepping in to win the challenge for Bowers & Pitsea. 

Charlotte South attempting to win the ball for Royston

  Whitehead getting up the pitch with Bruton right side a dangerous cross whipped in near post Georgia Fraser throwing herself at it can’t quite make contact. The game opens up suddenly one moment Bowers & Pitsea are on the attack with Moore on the left, O’Brien holding onto the ball put into the box is played out rapidly to Charter on the left, Slater providing a good left channel run seeing the ball rolled into her path strikes it on the angle Hickman down low saving well the ball loose though Simmons in on the follow up sees her strike blocked by the keeper this time the Bowers & Pitsea defence getting back to block another goal attempt. 

Bowers & Pitsea captain, Danielle Sillitoe

  Key fouls South out wide left a free-kick to the hosts, Edgar on it plays an inviting ball in long to the far post, Sillitoe doing well defensively for Bowers & Pitsea the ball carried out of the area by Rhodes the counter attack is on as the midfielder spreads play long to the left for Moore breaking away down the wing sending it through for Georgia Fraser, O’Brien quick off her line to the edge of the area to slide in and smother the ball. 

 Bruton gets herself into a central position taking the ball on travelling at pace looks to plough her way through the Royston defence, Laughlin holding her up, the ball rolls back to Rhodes closing in with Bruton, Cooper though stepping in quickly to charge the ball down as Rhodes goes to shoot. Bruton causing problems for Royston is central still attempting a through ball right to left for Georgia Fraser to run onto, O’Brien sharp out quickly to meet her once again. 

  Wilson in the middle for Bowers & Pitsea threading the ball through to Bruton inside the D, Cooper getting in a foot to stab the ball away for a throw on the right. Key playing a long diagonal ball out to Moore advancing on the right, an ambitious attempt striking the falling ball on the volley connects with it well enough the strike though whistling over the bar. Bruton on the right wrestles the ball off Gough at the back sends it inside for Georgia Fraser some 30 yards out a scuffed effort doesn’t trouble O’Brien running wide of her near post.

  Royston with a throw high on the left Laughlin into South puts it infield for Slater 25 yards out lays it back for Edgar to lift into the box to the right looking for Simmons who can’t quite get it down with her head to direct a shot on target. Royston attacking late in the first half on the left inside for Slater who lays it back central for Miller 25 yards out. leaning back into her shot puts it up over the crossbar. Whitehead bringing the ball on for Bowers & Pitsea right side crossing for Georgia Fraser central, Miles in ahead of her to head the ball clear for Royston.

Half-time Royston Town Women 1-1 Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

  A lively first half that has seen plenty of action certainly has a cup tie feel about it. Bowers & Pitsea starting the game well going on to open the scoring inside 10 minutes. Were on the front foot early on whilst Royston seemed to take a while to settle were frustrated at times as thing’s didn’t appear to go their way. The visitors using the width of the pitch quick to get attacks going. Royston coming back to level the scores though settling better the game open at times as both looked to get on quickly the hosts coming closest to having the lead, as it stands it remains all square with both sides creating opportunities. Has to be settled on the day either with a goal through open play or penalties. 

A change for Bowers & Pitsea at the start of the 2nd half with Courtney Fraser coming on for Katie Whitehead. The sun making a appearance at the start of the 2nd half low in the sky a potential problem for the team defending that end, Bowers & Pitsea goalkeeper, Hickman donning a cap as the players return to the pitch. Royston to get the 2nd period underway. The visitors getting hold of the ball with Strange at left back able to travel forwards into space on for Moore, is tackled by Cooper play quickly turned around put into the middle with Simmons on the turn putting it over the top for Slater, Hickman needs to come racing out of her box, just about wins the race getting her foot on the ball before Slater can nick it past her.

    South with the ball on the left passes inside to Edgar who in turn places it central for Miller to line up a low strike from 25 yards out angling in low Hickman dives to her left to make the save inside her six yard box turning the ball behind for a corner kick. Royston looking to get on the offensive early on in the 2nd half a throw left inside for South battles her way infield to pick out Miller top of the D she lays it back to Edgar who hits the shot 1st time blasting the ball wide of the right post. A double change for Royston with Miller and Laughlin coming off, on come Ellie Pickard and Paris Coldicott-Stevens who recently celebrated making her 100th appearance for the club.

Royston’s Paris Coldicott-Stevens

  Simmons in on the ball right of the box as Edgar wins it high up the pitch, whips in a strike on the angle always rising goes over the bar. South tussling for the ball does well to win a corner on the right for Royston following good work from Charter up the wing. In low towards the near post Wilson defends well for Bowers & Pitsea. Regained on the left by Charter players turning back towards goal as she whips a cross into the area Cooper up trying to get her head on the ball knocks it down, too close to Hickman who can snatch it to safety. 

 Royston with all the pressure in the 2nd half, Bowers & Pitsea pushed back, the ball put in from the left Simmons central gets a strike away defended comes out to the right another strike blazed in Hickman with a spectacular diving catch at her near post. Bowers & Pitsea finding themselves on the back foot at the start of the 2nd half.  The trainer on as both Moore and Rhodes are down. 

Becky Charter looking to send Emma Slater away for Royston

  Both up on their feet play resuming Wilson putting it out to the right Bruton racing forwards getting in behind fires in a shot on the angle driven in low races across the six yard box Moore closing in far side can’t get there as it runs out of play. Royston make another change bringing on Hattie Bourne for Gough. Rhodes central up to Bruton right of the D 20 yards out Georgia Fraser close to her, Miles in between both seeing the ball safely back to her keeper. Refereeing decisions still causing Royston some frustration as they feel they are not getting the rub of the green. 

 Bowers & Pitsea with a free-kick on halfway to the right of the centre circle. Sillitoe to play it up into the area Royston head it away drops to Rhodes outside the D her shot is charged down runs back to Georgia Fraser central leaning back into her shot sends a curling effort narrowly wide of the top corner. Rhodes last action of the game as she is replaced by Sophie Dowman.

  A busy few moments for Key in the Bowers & Pitsea defence as first she sees the ball back to her keeper as Slater gets on her bike in the middle. Then the defender makes a double block as both Slater and Simmons have a go from outside the box. With Royston getting players forwards much better in the 2nd period Moore is called into action at the back tracking back well to slide in and take the ball away from Charter as she gets past Strange. 

  Edgar plays a superb pass out to Charter getting clear on the right taking a run at the box Sillitoe gets across to put in the blocking tackle as she goes to unleash a shot. The ball running behind for a corner. A great delivery flashed in low to the top of the six yard box near side, Edgar digging out a goal bound effort, defended on the post by Wilson. Royston are quick to reclaim the ball out on the right Charter’s cross flying harmlessly through the six yard box as the game moves into the final 15 minutes. 

Royston’s Hattie Bourne

  Royston a pressing hard for a goal coming trough the middle Coldicott-Stevens then Edgar lifting an inviting ball in towards the top of the back on both occasions Sillitoe winning a vital header at the back for Bowers & Pitsea. The visitors away on the right Bruton with pace after the ball, O’Brien out to the top of her area sliding in to clear the ball out for a throw. Up on the right Bowers & Pitsea work the ball in central top of the area, a hand ball is spotted the referee pointing to the spot!

  GOAL! Royston disputing the decision arguing the infringement was outside the box the decision stands however. A penalty for Bowers & Pitsea, up comes the captain to place the ball on the spot a chance to fire her team into the lead with a little over 10 minutes to play, running up makes no mistake wrong footing the keeper to place the ball high to her left to score 1-2.

Danielle Sillitoe running in to score for Bowers & Pitsea

   A blow for Royston go straight on the attack from the restart, Slater bursting on winning a corner that frustratingly comes to nothing. Charter is causing problems on the right for Royston however Moore is tracking back with her constantly to slide in and defend putting the ball out for another corner. Comes in near side Miles getting something on it knocking it down into the middle, Amey fouled as she goes to defend Bowers & Pitsea with the free-kick. 

Holly Moore tackling Becky Charter

  Space opening up at the back for Bowers & Pitsea as Royston commit players forwards looking to get back on level terms Bruton away right firing in a cross/shot claimed by O’Brien. Simmons chases out to the right to nick the ball back of a defender turns back to attack the box flashing in a cross along the penalty spot picking out Slater falling back into the shot, sees her strike run wide of the right post. Cooper carries the ball out from the back for Royston before playing it on down the right for Simmons to the by-line her cross is plucked down confidently by Hickman. 

Royston midfielder, Sammy Edgar

  Royston piling forwards late in the game South battling to win possession right on for Charter who lifts a cross in to the far post attacked well by Edgar the ball seeming to take a deflection as it drops wide of goal, Edgar furious a corner isn’t awarded recieves a yellow card. Less than 4 minutes plus stoppage time left for Royston to find a goal. Bowers & Pitsea defending for their lives at times can’t get the ball to stick up top, Charter and South combining on the right before the cross is played into the top of the area Slater getting her head on the ball turns it over the crossbar. 

  A hand ball decision favours Royston this time out on the left a free-kick awarded 35 yards out a high ball played into the area is dangerous threatening to dip under Hickman’s bar, gloves up to claim it on her line as players close in the keeper falls to the ground keeping hold of it as Royston’s attack trying to get the ball over the line, the whistle blowing Royston claim the goalkeeper carried the ball over the line are dismayed when after consulting with the linesman the original decision that the goalkeeper was fouled stands.

 Into stoppage time Royston winning a corner send everyone up the delivery in to the far post hooked clear by the visiting defence, a strike from distance rattles back in wide of the left post. One last attack on the left for Royston, Coldicott-Stevens on for Miles breaking forwards, Courtney Fraser can get across her to guide the ball out safely for a goalkick.  

Full time Royston Town Women 1-2 Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

  The final whistle blows and it’s Bowers & Pitsea who celebrate as they win 2-1 to advance in the competition. Certainly had to put in a defensive shift 2nd half to keep Royston at bay. Scoring the all important goal with 10 minutes left to play. A proper cup tie Bowers & Pitsea getting off to a good start on the front foot early whilst Royston didn’t seem to settle find their rhythm the visitors taking the lead inside 10 minutes, Royston battling back to level midway through the first half both having chances to lead at the break. A different story 2nd half arguably Royston were the better side getting on the front foot straight away putting the Bowers & Pitsea defence under pressure. The Essex side stood firm however having few opportunities up the other end but when they had one they took it to get their noses in front and held on to claim the win. Royston will no doubt be hurting after that result a game they themselves might well have won just wasn’t to be their day decisions going against them adding to their frustrations. Bowers & Pitsea though advance in the cup and will be hoping for a home draw in the 3rd Qualifying Round scheduled to be played Sun 24th October. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, thought this was going to be a tough one but the notes I’ve taken present a clear winner. A few performances of note to mention first. For Royston, Becky Charter carried a strong threat on the both flanks throughout the game getting forwards and linking up with the attackers. Charlotte South got about the pitch battling for possession well, along with Sammy Edgar who put in a committed performance in the middle of the park. For Bowers & Pitsea, Talisa Bruton and Holly Moore caused plenty of problems on the wings whilst Sophie Rhodes was excellent in the middle especially 1st half. The award today though goes to Bowers & Pitsea’s captain Danielle Sillitoe a strong performance in the heart of the defence winning numerous balls, setting up the 1st goal and scoring the winning penalty.

An enjoyable trip to Hertfordshire today, an entertaining cup tie, could well have gone either way and shows what the ERWFL is all about even if this was a cup tie. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team line-ups today as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Cambridge City Ladies Development v Royston Town Women

Sunday 23rd May

ERWFL Challenge Cup Final

A trip down to Haverhill in Suffolk this Sunday the venue The New Croft for the ERWFL Challenge Cup Final, between Cambridge City Ladies Development and Royston Town Women.

  Couldn’t do my usual prep for this one however as the two finalists wouldn’t be known until the respective semi-finals were played in the morning. Today the ERWFL Challenge Cup Finals Day. With four sides competing, in two, hour long matches. The semi-finals then a final/3rd place match in the afternoon. 

  Along with Cambridge City Ladies Development and Royston Town Women were, Bedford Ladies and Wymondham Town Ladies. All group winners in the Challenge Cup, a temporary competition put in place by the Eastern Region Women’s Football League after the regular playing season was curtailed due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. 19 clubs from the ERWFL entering the Challenge Cup.  

Road to the Final

The 19 sides competing drawn into 4 groups each side playing the other once with 3 points awarded for a win, a point for a draw and for this competition, an extra point for a penalty shootout win after the sides have finished all square during the match. 

Cambridge City Ladies Development have done well since joining the ERWFL going strong at the top of Division One North in both the pervious seasons before their early finish were drawn in Group A with 3 Premier Division sides, started well with an away win against Wroxham Women. Took on Haringey Borough Women at home next the sides fighting out a 4-4 draw Cambridge going on to win the penalty shootout to claim a bonus point. Last up another home game against AFC Dunstable Women was a winner takes all match to see who would top the group Cambridge coming away 2-1 victors to progress to finals day

  4 wins out of 4 saw Bedford Ladies win Group B to progress to the Finals Day, starting with a narrow 3-2 win away to Division One North side King’s Lynn Town Ladies. Won 6-0 and 6-1 respectfully against two more Division One sides, Wodson Park Ladies and East Bergholt United Ladies. It was a good 3-1 win at home against Premier Division title chasers Harlow Town Ladies that ensured Bedford’s progress.

  Royston Town Women were drawn in Group C along side fellow Premier Division side Bowers & Pitsea Ladies along with 3 Division One sides, Stevenage Women Development, Leigh Ramblers and Haverhill Rovers Ladies. Collected a point from their first match after a 4-4 draw with Haverhill Rovers who went on to win the shootout 10-9! Went on to take maximum points at home to Stevenage 2-1 and 4-2 away to Bowers & Pitsea, the final group match at home to Leigh Ramblers the Essex side doing well in the group vying for top spot. Royston thanks to a brace from Sammy Tinsley and goal each for Tally Miles and Charlotte South winning the game 4-1 to finish top.

  Wymondham Town Ladies leading the Premier Division before the league campaign ended were drawn in Group D, something of a group of death as they were paired with high flying St Ives Town Ladies and Luton Town Ladies along with another Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies and Needham Market Women from Division One North. Started well with a 4-0 win at home to Colney Heath. Drew 3-3 with St Ives missing out on the bonus point. A tough match at home to Luton saw Wymondham come out on top 2-1 a 3-1 away win assuring the Norfolk side made it through to finals day.

The final 4 all strong on their day anyone of them capable of going all the way as they arrived at The New Croft for Finals Day.

 The Finals day seeing the sides meet in two hour long semi-finals the winners going on to the final itself with a 3rd placed match for those missing out. The draw made the morning before the game saw Royston Town Women taking on Bedford Ladies with Cambridge City Ladies Development up against Wymondham Town Ladies. Couldn’t make it in time for the start of the semi-finals due to work commitments. The New Croft at Haverhill featuring a stadium wit a grass pitch with a 3G pitch behind, the semi-finals going off at the same time. On the 3G pitch Royston made a strong start to their match Emma Slater scoring twice to see them leading 2-0 at half-time. Bedford pulling it back to 2-1 in the 2nd half, the Hertfordshire side though were to hold on to book their place in the final.

A first half brace for Emma Slater helping to see Royston through to the ERWFL Challenge Cup Final.

  Cambridge and Wymondham playing their semi-final on the grass pitch, Shannon Shaw opened the scoring to see Cambridge 1-0 to the good at half-time. Wymondham frustrated never really getting going Shaw was to make it a brace on the 2nd half to see Cambridge through to the final 2-0.

A brace too for Cambridge’s, Shannon Shaw seeing the Development side through to the final.

  The venue for today’s ERWFL Challenge Cup Finals Day, The New Croft, home of Haverhill Rovers. Have been here before to watch Haverhill Rovers Ladies play over on the 3G pitch situated behind the main building a new facility. There a practise pitches beyond that and to the opposite the main stadium, a grass pitch with a small seated stand, a modern clubhouse with bar, and kitchen serving hot food and drinks. The weather pleasant in the morning the semi-finals played in the dry, dark clouds looming a heavy downpour between matches would see the pitch slicken up before kick-off with the threat of more showers hanging about.

 Cambridge City Ladies Development starting XI – Kayleigh Blanchard, Emily Trezise, Lauren Tomlinson, Kayla Krett (C), Ceri Flye, Rachel Pearce, Freya Goddard, Bella Simmons, Ellie Cullum, Lauren Sanders & Grace Stanley. Subs – Amy Reed, Emma Littlewood, Elizabeth O’Callaghan, Amie Fullwood & Shannon Shaw. 

  Royston Town Women starting XI – Mia O’Brien, Fran Gough, Hattie Bourne, Leah Dunnage, Amy Cooper (C), Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Georgia Miller, Tally Miles, Charlotte South, Sammy Tinsley & Emma Slater. Subs – Samantha Edgar, Grace Georgiou, Beki Roach, Sydney Graham & Gemma Croucher.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  An hour long match should the scores be level a the final whistle the game going straight to penalties. The heavy shower easing up prior to kick-off, both side usually playing in black and white, it’s Royston with the change of shirts getting the 1st half underway, purple their away colours with black shorts and white socks. Cambridge opposite wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. The ball closed down in the middle straight away by Cambridge the pass send crossfield to the right channel for Bella Simmons to attack, travels before being closed down by Royston’s Leah Dunnage the ball out for a throw.

 

Rachel Pearce plays the ball on through the middle for Cambridge for Lauren Sanders attacking the right channel pushes the ball on for Simmons racing intothe area ahead of her, Royston captain, Amy Cooper in tight to the Cambridge attack to take the ball loose on the right Sanders goes after it but can’t fashion a crossing opportunity as Hattie Bourne gets tight to her. Royston make ground on the left winning the first corner of the game, the delivery long goes out of play beyond the far post.   

Royston’s Emma Slater with Cambridge’s Rachel Pearce

  Cambridge clear the ball upfield, Grace Stanley on the left looking to get forwards, Fran Gough slicing her clearance sees the ball drop into space beyond her, Stanley reacts a burst of pace getting her onto the ball, Gough getting back on her forcing her down to the by-line, Stanley gets a cross into the near post, Royston keeper, Mia O’Brien has it covered catching the ball low. A good start from Cambridge getting players forwards with pace running at the Royston defence, using the width well Sanders furthest forwards looks to take the ball into her stride as Simmons lays it on from the right, Cooper getting there to intercept off Sanders was through to attack the box. 

Emily Trezise clearing the ball for Cambridge

  O’Brien with a great save called into action diving to her right as Cambridge power on down the right the ball 20 out inside for Sanders sees Stanley free to the left of the D sends the ball on, Stanley meeting it first time striking it low, O’Brien diving full stretch to her right to push the ball behind for a corner kick. 

Royston goalkeeper, Mia O’Brien

  Simmons out on the right causing Royston problems holding the flank well, her teammates picking her out, Sanders and Stanley making central runs, Sanders this time bursting in behind off her through ball, Dunnage doing well to catch up and slide in to make the challenge. Simmons getting hold of the ball on the right coming inside towards the top of the area, 4 Royston players converge on her inside the D, Georgia Miller slowing her down, no shot on as Tally Miles clears the ball upfield. 

Georgia Miller winning the header for Royston

  Tomlinson clear on the left down the line gets her cross into the box long to the far stick, congested, Simmons and Sanders looking to keep it alive, Royston managing to scramble it away. Royston haven’t settled in the early exchanges, Cambridge on top. Tinsley left side playing the ball diagonally into the area with play draw across the pitch, Miles central looking to attack it on the penalty spot, Lauren Tomlinson doing well up against her for Cambridge. 

Tally Miles on the move for Royston

Tomlinson bringing the ball away at her feet on the left for Cambridge races over halfway before firing it in central for Simmons racing through the middle, O’Brien quickly out of her six yard box up to the top of her area to get her gloves firmly around the ball with Simmons bearing down. Royston look to get thing’s going through the middle, Paris Coldicott-Stevens getting hold on the ball putting it on for Miles she goes on with Charlotte South the pair exchanging passes looking for a pass into Slater, Pearce and Freya Goddard getting in between to win it back for Cambridge. 

Cambridge City’s Lauren Tomlinson

 Cambridge make a change bringing Shannon Shaw on for Cullum. Cambridge win a corner on the left played short into Stanley left side looks to go inside, Miles does well defending close on her for Royston. Can’t make it stick up top Cambridge get right back on the attack, Tomlinson racing forwards taking the ball to the by-line flashing a ball into the near post O’Brien with an instinctive jab with her toes deflecting the ball behind for the corner.

Grace Stanley on the attack for Cambridge

  Stanley racing on with the ball left side for Cambridge attempts to put it on into Shaw ahead of her, Cooper getting across for Royston putting in a timely tackle. From the resulting throw in Royston break Miles taking the ball on up the right flank sends it inside for Slater her touch 20 out seeing her turn into the area ready to attack the goal, Cambridge captain Kayla Krett recovers superbly throwing herself into the tackle taking the ball off Slater’s feet sending it behind for the corner. A dangerous delivery fired in across the face of goal barely half a metre off the floor, inviting but no one from Royston is near it. 

Royston defender, Fran Gough

  Simmons continues to carry a threat on the right winning a corner. Into the mix at the near post the ball half cleared looping up towards the top of the area Simmons is there to strike it as it lands angles across the area towards the opposite corner on target, Gough covering the post clearing the ball off the line. Tomlinson bringing the ball on left side passes it to Sanders 20 out she clips it in to Simmons central, brings it down well on her chest to strike on the turn, the shot however straight at the keeper, held by O’Brien. 

Cambridge’s Bella Simmons

  GOAL! The first half drawing to a close, Cambridge have a corner on the right, players up from the back, the ball fired into the congested near post area headed up into the air by Cooper drops down inside the D, struck by Krett on the half volley her strike blocked by a charging defender, the deflection though seeing it land in behind to Shaw unmarked six yards out to the left, strikes it low under the diving keeper into the back of the net 1-0.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies Development 1-0 Royston Town Women

  Cambridge with the narrow advantage at the break, having started the brighter have been on the front foot throughout, creating chances, deservedly in the lead, just by a single goal however. Royston in contrast got off to a sluggish start and have been frustrated in the first half, few opportunities in the final third, the defence making several crucial tackles, O’Brien too in goal with a crucial save. Know they will need to improve in the 2nd period if they want to get back into the game. 

 

 

   Changes for both sides at the start of the 2nd half, Emma Littlewood, Amy Reed and Amie Fullwood on for Cambridge. Samantha Edgar and Beki Roach on for Royston. Cambridge to get the 2nd period underway. Straight away Royston find joy on the left Tinsley playing a great ball in diagonally to the top of the area for Slater to attack in behind, Kayleigh Blanchard though with a good starting position in goal for Cambridge out to the top of her box to nullify the threat. Cambridge break down the left an early cross fired into the box, Simmons the target, the number 9 can’t quite reach it. 

Royston’s Sammy Tinsley

  Miles from 30 yards out on the right gets plenty of power behind the ball as she shoots on the angle her strike bouncing off the advertising boards behind the goal. The game open at the start of the 2nd period, end to end, Royston looking to get Tinsley and Miles further up on the wide positions to support Slater. Miles advancing on the right fires a diagonal cross into the area, players running in central, Blanchard gets her fingertips on the bouncing ball as it runs out of play on the opposite side, after appeals Royston are awarded the corner kick.

  GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half for Royston as they get themselves back on level terms the ball driven in to the six yard box, met at the near post knocked on into the path of Slater at the far post who powers the ball in under the crossbar to score 1-1.

Emma Slater’s goal makes it 1-1

 South brings down Cambridge’s Flye as the defender carries the ball on over the half way line seeing a free-kick awarded 30 yards out to the right of the box, Goddard over to take it, flights a ball in towards the top of the area, headed up but not clear by the Royston defence a shot is allowed to come in from 25 yards out goes over. An improved 2nd half performance from Royston the game more even, Slater looking more of a threat having players up with her.

Royston attacker, Emma Slater

 Appeals for a penalty by Royston as Slater and Flye tangle at the far post close in as a cross from the right in flashed across the six yard box, a good challenge by Flye however, Royston get the corner. the delivery into the area falls down to Edgar right of the D, strikes it hard and low back across goal, isn’t far wide of the far post. Tomlinson has a long throw on her carries a threat, but everyone in the league knows it, Royston are staying alert knowing the danger it poses. Changes for both sides Gemma Croucher on for South for Royston, Elizabeth O’Callaghan on for Cambridge at the back. 

 

 

  Cooper in to close down Shaw inside the box right side as Simmons lays the ball into her feet from the right, Cambridge keeping the ball in the corner, can’t fashion a cross as Dunnage sends the ball up into midfield. A marauding run central between Edgar and Croucher for Royston, O’Callaghan stepping up well to put in the challenge break up the attack outside her area. Less than 10 minutes left for either side to find a winner. A sloppy passage of play from both sides passes missing there mark, another sliced clearance leading to a Cambridge corner. The ball in near side met well by Dunnage. Coldicott-Stevens comes off for Royston, Miller returning to the action. 

  Slater getting more of the ball in the 2nd half, picking it up 30 or so yards out driving at the defence has made several threatening runs, O’Callaghan and Krett both tackling to regain possession. The attacker has the ball at her feet again central pushes forwards, has Miles coming in from the right ahead of her, doesn’t release the  ball early enough as O’Callaghan comes to close the angle, the goes in on Slater to deny her a shot. Stanley comes back on for Cambridge replacing Sanders. 

 

  Cambridge get the ball moving quickly from back to front, right side fired into the middle for Stanley into the right channel, has Simmons bursting into the box from the right, helps the ball into her path, Simmons shooting first time sees her effort fly over the bar from the angle.

 

  Miles has the ball in the right for Royston lays it infield for Slater to drive at the defence, O’Callaghan stepping up to close her down, slows her down as Goddard comes in to support, Slater shoots outside the box, hits Goddard deflected through safely for the keeper. Both sides starting to think about penalties as Royston send South back on for Gough. Slater on the run is brought down seeing Royston win a free-kick 30 yards out, Miles to send in to the far stick the ball is put behind for a corner. Players up from the back the delivery drops far post, Cooper is there but gets under it, Dunnage beyond also missing out. 

  Pressure from Royston late on getting players on South up with Slater a corner won. Cooper up well to meet it on the penalty spot sees her attempt sail over the bar. That’s it, the game ending in a draw will be decided on penalties.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies Development 1-1 Royston Town Women

  A much improved performance from Royston in the 2nd half got themselves straight back into the game from the restart and the game was a more open sided affair 2nd half, Tinsley and Miles getting further on up the flanks limiting Cambridge’s opportunities to get players forwards. On to penalties, and with dark clouds building towards the end of the game the rain has started to fall again. I might have mentioned before I hate penalties but there we go.

Penalties

  Cambridge up first, with captain Kayla Krett to take the first penalty, sets the ball on the spot, hits it well to O’Brien’s right, the keeper guesses right but despite getting her fingertips to the ball sees it nestle in the back of the net 1-0.

  South up first for Royston cool as you like strokes it low to the keepers left to find the bottom corner 1-1.

  Goddard with Cambridge’s 2nd penalty, sends it home high to the keepers right 2-1.

  Tinsley up 2nd for Royston, opts for power rising to the left, Blanchard goes the right way diving gets something on the ball but can’t keep it out 2-2.

  Tomlinson up next for Cambridge smashes it home to make it 3-2.

  Croucher’s turn for Royston penalty number 3 buried low into the left corner 3-3 the pressure building.

  Shaw up for Cambridge 3 goals already on Finals Day makes no mistake from the spot planting the ball to the keepers right 4-3.

 Slater matching Shaw’s goal scoring feat on Final’s Day up next for Royston opens up her body to send the ball wide of the keeper 4-4.

  The tension building Stanley steps up for Cambridge, places it sweetly into the bottom left corner 5-4.

  Edgar has to score for Royston to send the shootout into sudden death, Blanchard goes the right way but Edgar has gotten enough power on her strike to evade the keeper 5-5.

  I’m more tense now writing about the shootout than I was watching it, Reed comes forwards for Cambridge, hits the ball low to the keepers left angling into the bottom corner, O’Brien though goes the right way throwing herself into the dive full stretch makes the save knocking the ball away it remains 5-5.

  Miles placing the ball on the spot for Royston a chance to win the Challenge Cup, strikes it well power and pace on the rising ball, despair for Blanchard who goes the right way but can’t reach it 5-6! Royston win on penalties. 

Tally Miles scoring the winning penalty for Royston Town Women

  Always a harsh way to lose a game, but oh so great if you win as Miles is swamped by her joyous teammates, Royston coming back from a goal down to level the game and take it to a penalty shootout with a much improved 2nd half performance. 5 perfect penalties for each side sending it to sudden death a superb save from Mia O’Brien before Tally Miles scored the winning penalty. Didn’t think there would be much between the 4 sides today, Royston clinching the silverware.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few contenders once again. Bella Simmons with a fantastic game in attack for Cambridge really put the Royston defence through it especially first half and was unlucky not to be on the score sheet. Amy Cooper with some good tackles in defence for Royston who found themselves on the backfoot in the 1st half. A couple of quality saves from Mia O’Brien in goal. Tally Miles too getting forwards well to support the attack in the 2nd period. Edging it however with some great positional play up top and movement off the ball and the growing threat she posed through the final scoring the all important equaliser today’s award goes to Emma Slater.

Congratulations to Royston Town Women on winning the ERWFL Challenge Cup.

 

 

Credit to Cambridge however took the final all the way and on penalties it literally is a lottery. In the other match the 3rd place game Wymondham Town Ladies emerged comfortable winners, a more relaxed performance seeing them take control of the game leading 3-0 t half-time before going on to win 5-0 against Bedford.

 The ERWFL laying on an excellent Finals Day in what has been another turbulent season, let’s hope for better thing’s into the new campaign. The Regional leagues playing a vital role in the women’s football pyramid, plenty of entertainment a good standard that is only going to improve in the future as the game grows as a whole. Great to see spectators enjoying a game once again too. My thanks to both sides for the team details always appreciated. 

by Darren Gilham